Skip to main content

The University of Victoria will announce a new professorship in its Department of Visual Arts today. The Audain Professorship in Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest was made possible by a $2-million donation from the Audain Foundation, the philanthropic British Columbia organization founded by Michael Audain. In recognition of the gift, UVic's Faculty of Fine Arts will name the visual-art department's main exhibition and public gathering space the Audain Gallery and Atrium.

Many of the province's educational establishments have benefited from donations from the Audain Foundation - the University of British Columbia, Emily Carr Institute University and Simon Fraser University have all been recipients.

"The universities are a very important part of the reason why British Columbia is becoming an international centre for the visual arts," Audain explained by phone yesterday, adding he was pleased to be able to give back in Victoria, the city where he grew up. "We support visual arts across B.C.," he said. "We try very hard to spread it about and not concentrate all the gifts in Vancouver."

Story continues below advertisement

Asked how much money the foundation had awarded to arts institutions in the past year, Audain chuckled and said he had no idea: "I don't really know. I don't keep track of that sort of thing."

The chairman of Polygon Homes Ltd., one of B.C.'s leading builders, Audain is committed to supporting the province's visual arts and has become a significant influence on the art scene across Canada. He is chairman of both the National Gallery of Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery Foundation. Through his foundation, Audain is the Vancouver Art Gallery's single most generous donor - with gifts of almost $6.5-million so far - and he was instrumental in the opening of the Bill Reid Gallery, with a gift of over $1-million. He also made a major capital donation to SFU for its forthcoming Contemporary Arts Centre in the redeveloped Woodward's building in downtown Vancouver.

Report an error Licensing Options

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at